Authentic New Orleans Seafood Gumbo
There’s nothing quite like the intense, comforting taste of authentic Louisiana gumbo.
Featuring warm spices, generous helpings of succulent seafood, spicy sausage, and, of course, the “Holy Trinity” of Cajun cooking – onion, bell pepper, and celery. New Orleans Gumbo is positively bursting with the incredible flavors of the Gulf Coast.
However, this is not a simple midweek meal to whip up in 30 minutes or less.
A good Gumbo recipe takes time and preparation, so it’s more of a weekend cooking project. Yet the vibrant goodness is absolutely well worth the time and effort.
New Orleans Seafood Gumbo
A common question people ask is “What’s the difference between etouffee, jambalaya, and gumbo?”
Classic Cajun etouffee is made with a thinner tomato base and, like gumbo, is served over rice. Easy Jambalaya, on the other hand, is similar to etouffee in that it’s made with a tomato base, but rice is incorporated in the dish itself, so it’s more like a rice pilaf.
Louisiana Gumbo, however, uses a rich dark roux for the base, and does not include tomatoes.
What Ingredients You Need
While this is one of the more involved recipes on our site, it certainly warrants the extra effort. You’ll find yourself wanting to make this delicious dish for all of your special occasions!
Here are all of the ingredients you need to make the best authentic New Orleans Seafood Gumbo recipe:
- All-purpose flour
- Vegetable oil
- White vinegar
- Long-grain white rice
- Andouille sausage
- Large Onion
- Green bell pepper
- Celery stalks
- Garlic cloves
- Habanero or serrano pepper
- Seafood stock
- Worcestershire sauce
- Dried thyme
- Cajun seasoning
- Bay leaf
- “Gumbo crabs” or blue crabs
- Raw shrimp
- Shucked oysters
- fresh Parsley or scallions (green onions)
How to Make Authentic Seafood Gumbo
Here I’ve laid out all of the steps to making the best New Orleans Gumbo recipe. While the process might seem complex, each step is actually quite easy, albeit a bit time-consuming.
But that’s the only way to develop that crave-able authentic Cajun flavor!
First, make the Roux: Set a large 7-8 quart sauce pot over medium-high heat. Add the flour, oil, and butter, and whisk well to break up any clumps. Cook the roux for about 30 minutes, whisking regularly until it is the color of milk chocolate like in the picture above.
Prep additional ingredients: While making the roux , go ahead and chop the sausages, all of the vegetables, and the fresh herbs.
De-Slime the Okra: I can’t stress enough how important it is to de-slime your fresh okra before including it in gumbo!
Here is the secret to perfectly prepping okra: Set a smaller sauce pot filled with water and over high heat, and add the vinegar. Once boiling, add the chopped okra. Boil for just a few minutes to reduce the slime. Then drain and set aside.
Build the Base: Once the roux is a dark rich brown, add in the chopped andouille sausages. Fry the sausage in the roux for 1-2 minutes, then add in the chopped onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic, and habanero. Stir and sauté for several minutes.
Slow Simmer: Next, add in the seafood broth, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, Cajun seasoning, bay leaf, and stir well. Then mix in the crawfish and whole crabs. Simmer on low or medium-low for 1 hour.
Cook the Rice: In order to make fewer dishes to wash, use the same smaller pot you used for the okra to cook the rice, according to the package instructions. Once cooked, fluff the rice, and cover until ready to use. I usually get my rice started just before the simmering process ends, right before the gumbo is resting per the step below.
Finish: Once fully simmered, add the shrimp, oysters (plus crabmeat if using), and the de-slimed okra. Simmer for another few minutes until the seafood is just cooked.
Rest: Lastly, cover the gumbo pot and turn off the heat. Let the gumbo rest for at least 30 minutes, so that all of the flavors have longer to mix and mingle, without overcooking the seafood. I know it’s hard to wait when your kitchen smells so incredible, but I promise it’s worth it!
To Serve: Rewarm the gumbo, if needed, for a few minutes. Then serve in large bowls with a heaping scoop of warm rice, and a sprinkling of parsley and/or scallions.
Leftover Louisiana Gumbo will keep well in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days. I love eating this hearty dish the next day as the flavors intensify. However, I do recommend making fresh rice to enjoy with it.
Okra: Many gumbo variations do not contain okra. If you are on the fence about the okra, it is ok to leave it out.
Seafood: After tasting numerous “famous” gumbos in New Orleans, I can tell you many do not contain crawfish, or at least crawfish in shells. My personal belief is that the seafood in shells creates a much richer seafood flavor. However, it is not required. The most important thing to remember is that you need the freshest seafood you can find, no matter what type it is.
Chicken Gumbo: If you are not a fan of seafood, some classic gumbos include sausage and shredded chicken. Stir in the cooked shredded chicken once the gumbo is fully prepared.
Get the Complete Authentic New Orleans Seafood Gumbo Recipe Below. Enjoy!
What Other Types of Seafood Can I Use to Make Authentic Gumbo?
Depending on where you live, it might be tricky to find certain types of seafood. You can certainly swap what is fresh and available to you for the crawfish and small crabs.
Just follow this simple rule: If the seafood is in shells simmer for an hour. If not – like peeled and deveined shrimp or scallops – only simmer for 5 minutes.
Looking for More Cajun-Inspired Recipes?
- Creamy Skillet Cajun Chicken and Mushrooms Recipe
- Cajun Chicken and Rice Casserole
- Easy Red Beans and Rice Recipe
- Cajun Hot Shrimp Drip Recipe
- Muffuletta Stuffed Chicken Breast Recipe
- Muffuletta Garlic Cheese Bread
- Classic Muffuletta Sandwiches
Check the printable recipe card below for the nutrition information including calories, protein, sodium, fiber, and vitamin percentages.
Authentic New Orleans Seafood Gumbo
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- ¼ cup butter
- 12 ounces fresh or frozen okra chopped
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 2 cups dried long grain rice
- 12 ounces andouille sausage, sliced
- 1 large sweet onion peeled and chopped
- 1 large green bell pepper
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 4-5 cloves garlic minced
- 1 habanero pepper seeded and minced (or serrano)
- 8 cups seafood stock
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 pound crawfish
- 1 pound small “gumbo crabs” or blue crabs or crab meat
- 1 pound large raw shrimp cleaned
- 1 pint shucked oysters optional
- 1 cup chopped parsley and/or chopped scallions for garnish
- Make the Roux: Set a large 7-8 quart saucepot over medium-high heat. Add the flour, oil, and butter. Whisk well to break up any clumps. Cook the roux for 30-40 minutes, whisking regularly, until it is the color of milk chocolate.
- Prep: Meanwhile, chop the sausages, all the vegetables, and herbs.
- De-Slime the Okra: Set a smaller saucepot filled with water and over high heat. Add the vinegar. Once boiling, add the chopped okra. Boil for 3-4 minutes to reduce the slime. Then drain and set aside.
- Build the Base: Once the roux is a dark rich brown color, add in the andouille sausages. Fry it in the roux for 1-2 minutes, then add in the chopped onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic, and habanero. Stir and sauté for 8-10 minutes.
- Slow Simmer: Add in the seafood broth, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, Cajun seasoning, bay leaf. Stir well. Then mix in the crawfish and whole crabs. Simmer on low for 1 hour.
- Cook the Rice: Use the same smaller pot you used for the okra to cook the rice. Cook according to the package instructions. Once cooked, fluff the rice, and cover until ready to use.
- Finish: Now add the shrimp, oysters (plus crabmeat if using), and okra. Simmer another 5 minutes.
- Rest: Cover the gumbo pot and turn off the heat. Let the gumbo rest for at least 30 minutes, so all the flavors have longer to mix and mingle, without overcooking the seafood.
- To Serve: Rewarm the gumbo, if needed, for 2-3 minutes. Then serve it in large bowls with a heaping scoop of rice, and a sprinkling of parsley and/or scallions.